Take a moment to discuss pickleball paddles. I’ve played pickleball and researched and tested many paddles for more than four years. In general, they have been good, but there have been bad paddles as well. My paddles have changed radically in the nearly decade I’ve played pickleball. So, I thought about it. What are the best ways to make my reader’s pickleball paddle guide as helpful as possible?
I’m not the definitive expert on pickleball, even though my family and I love the game. A pickleball paddle manufacturer’s president and professional pickleball players were interviewed to find out everything you and I need to know about pickleball paddles. It makes sense to listen to the experts, right?
- 1 Pickleball Paddles: What Should Everyday Players Consider?
- 2 Weight Matters a lot in Pickleball Paddle.
- 3 Paddle Surfaces Explained:
- 4 Graphite Pickleball Paddles
- 5 Wooden Pickleball Paddles:
- 6 Graphite, composite, or carbon fiber: what’s the best pickleball paddle material?
- 7 Frequently Asked Questions
Pickleball Paddles: What Should Everyday Players Consider?
Beginners often assume that whether a paddle will satisfy their needs depends on its technical specs and features. For example, I would analyze the paddle’s weight, length, hitting surface, and the size of its grip. Undoubtedly, those specs are noteworthy and can play a role in deciding what pickleball racquet to buy. The specs were too important to me, but let me be honest with you. In other words, it was a classic “paralysis by analysis.”.
How To Choose Best Pickleball Paddle?
Professional pickleball players may find choosing the suitable paddle challenging. A growing number of pickleball brands are releasing the latest pickleball paddle technology as pickleball grows in popularity in the United States and other countries. Professional athletes face several challenges when choosing the right paddle.
In this guide, I explain which pickleball paddles professional players use in their life. A pickleball player’s rating, affordability, paddle weight, ball control, grip size, core material, hitting surface, and more are considered.
Neil Friedenberg, one of the top paddle experts in the pickleball industry and President of Pro-Lite Sports, is quoted in this article expressing his opinion about the ‘right fit for a paddle:
“From the beginning, it should feel good in your hands. What is the comfort level of the grip? What is the feel of the weight? Does it cause you any pain or discomfort while swinging? We have a wide selection of shape, weight, material, and grip length paddles. I recommend narrowing it down first because it can be overwhelming.”
Weight Matters a lot in Pickleball Paddle.
Choosing a pickleball paddle should not be limited to how it feels in your hand but should also consider paddle weight. The weight of the paddle has a significant impact on its feel.
Like tennis elbow, arm fatigue and potential injury are influenced by the paddle’s weight. However, pickleball paddle weight can significantly impact how you play the game. Despite playing with all kinds of paddles, I have found lighter paddles to be the most challenging. Also, check the What is an Erne in pickleball?
Too light paddles can make it hard to get the “feel” for the paddle. I can’t consistently hit the baseline in both point-in, and point-out serve returns. As a result, I am losing accuracy and consistency. That can be a huge problem when trying to win a game. If I have a paddle lighter than 7.5 ounces, I find it extremely difficult to play my regular game. That’s the only way I think.
This isn’t rocket science. A lighter paddle will allow you to control your drinking more easily, especially in the kitchen.
Furthermore, longer reaction times are possible when playing volley with lighter paddles. You must, however, sacrifice some power when you use lighter paddles
Mark Renneson, founder of Third Short Sports, gives me the best advice on paddle weight and what he uses most often. He approaches Paddle weight uniquely:
“I would suggest you don’t overthink it”.
Once you have been using it for a few days and are not experiencing any soreness, you should be good to go! Overthinking it will only make it worse. It shouldn’t matter what weight your paddle is based on your skill level. Your body type should be the focus. It may be possible for you to get away with something heavier if you’re big and strong. It might be better to go lighter if you are more petite. In addition to being more maneuverable, lighter paddles are also more efficient. While lighter paddles are less stable on off-center hits, heavier paddles are more stable. A paddle in the low 8s feels good, but I prefer a heavy and evenly distributed handle.
He told me about paddle weight, as well as paddle balance. At the same time, we talked about the 2018 Senior National Champion Del Kauss:
“Weight is not as important as balance and feel. I think middle-weight paddles are best for overall performance if they are balanced well.”
Pickleball paddles can be weighted. Is it possible?
You can, in a nutshell. Lead tape is an easy way to accomplish this. You would use let tape to cover the paddle’s edge, also known as an “edge guard.” A paddle’s edge guard is usually thick enough for another layer to be applied, but some do not have one.
Paddle Surfaces Explained:
The pickleball paddle surface has four basic types, and the paddle core has three major types. A pickleball paddle today is usually made up of one of these seven materials.
- In terms of paddle surfaces, there are four main types: composite, graphite, wood, and carbon fiber.
- Paddle cores come in three main types: Polypropylene, Nomex, and Aluminum.
Each surface has pros and cons, as well as features and benefits. As for paddle cores, the same applies. Depending on your paddle surface and core, you can negatively or positively impact your game. You can adjust your game style or strengths (such as accuracy at deep baselines or in touch when dinking at the net). We’ll discuss each pickleball paddle surface in more detail since they can improve your game. Paddle cores determine whether a paddle will be a great paddle or one you won’t use again. Also, check the Difference Between Indoor vs. Outdoor Pickleballs.
Carbon Fiber Pickleball Paddles:
The latest and greatest paddle technology is now coming to the market with carbon fiber paddles. How is carbon fiber used in pickleball paddles, and what are its properties?
Some people believe carbon fiber is made from coal or oil. It’s all a myth. Polyacrylonitrile and rayon make up carbon fiber. The combination of these two materials results in a material with nearly the same strength as steel after you weave them together into microscopic crystals. Strong and thin? It makes me think of a pickleball paddle. Also, read the What to Wear for Pickleball?
The President of Pro-Lite, Neil Friedenberg, talked with me about what makes their carbon fiber paddles so special. It has the largest sweet spot, the greatest durability, and the highest deflection rate for a paddle made of carbon fiber. A player can return a hard shot or take speed off the ball and hit the ball softly instead of returning a hard shot.
Graphite Pickleball Paddles
According to online retailers, graphite ones are the most popular pickleball paddles. A graphite paddle immediately impacted the market when it hit market. What’s the reason?
There is no doubt that graphite is a thin and light material. A pickleball racket can easily hit it with this surface. There are almost no pickleball paddles that are lighter than graphite if you were to run down all the lightest ones. An average graphite paddle weighs around 7.4 ounces but can range up to 8.2 ounces.
Furthermore, graphite surfaces are fragile as well as stiff and ridged. In addition to providing some pop, the paddle is also light enough to reduce arm fatigue when it is used. The real value of graphite comes from its thinness. Also, check the How to Regrip Your Pickleball Paddle?
Graphite gives pickleball rackets an excellent tactile sensation because of their thin, lightweight coating. In addition to being thin, graphite paddles feel like extensions of a player’s hands. A paddle lets you feel the ball strike and react to the hit very well. Graphite’s rigidity, combined with its strength, makes it an excellent material for controlling the product. Due to the stiffness, it has a “point and shoot” effect.
Is there any consensus among experts? I was surprised to learn what Neil Friedenberg had to say about graphite paddles. He says,
“According to the chemicals and materials used to manufacture graphite paddles, some have smaller sweet spots than others.”
“Graphite paddles produce great kill shots when they’re used correctly, but they’re more likely to produce miss-hits than any other high-end paddle.”
Wooden Pickleball Paddles:
Wooden pickleball paddles were the first paddles made for pickleball. Over the years, paddles have evolved considerably. There are still a lot of wooden paddles available, however. Paddle sets often include wooden paddles, which are cheap. A starter paddle set is an inexpensive option that bundles four balls and four paddles. Recreation centers and local clubs often purchase wooden paddles in bulk for brand-new players. Also, check the Where Did Pickleball Originate?
Pickleball paddles are most likely free at your local YMCA if you were introduced to the sport there. Pickleball can also be played at home with four wooden paddles. Paddles cost between $12 and $40 per set. I rarely see them played with at my local rec center anymore, even though they are a cheap option for brand-new players. I think that tells you something.
Graphite, composite, or carbon fiber: what’s the best pickleball paddle material?
How do you choose wood, graphite, composites, and carbon fiber for your pickleball paddle? My experience with composite paddles suggests that they perform really well! Carbon Fiber was voted the best material by our panel of experts! Despite Neil Friedenberg, Del Kauss, and Mark Freundenberg, US Open Silver Medalist Mark Renneson chose Composite over Carbon Fiber! Also, check the How To Clean a Pickleball Paddle.
According to Del Kauss, three-time US Open Champion, Pro-Lite’s Titan Pro paddle is his favorite:
“At the moment, the Titan Pro offers the best surface: black diamond carbon fiber. An exceptional combination of touch and power can be achieved by using this carbon fiber material. Despite its lack of texture, the surface grips well, which allows the ball to spin.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Question 1: Should pickleball paddles be lighter or heavier?
Answer: Control is increased with a lighter paddle, but the drive is reduced. Power and drive will increase with a heavier paddle, but control will decrease. In addition, heavier paddles can result in elbow strain and fatigue in the arm. If you need to build up your strength, you might want to start with a lighter paddle.
Question 2: Is an elongated pickleball paddle better?
Answer: There is a smaller face width on elongated paddles, but the paddle length is increased. Despite its additional reach, this type of paddle makes hitting from the sweet spot in the center much more difficult. Consequently, experienced people can benefit from elongated paddles, but novices should avoid them.
Question 3: When should I replace my pickleball paddle?
Answer: The average competitive paddler replaces their paddles once a year, though some may switch earlier if their sponsor provides them with new paddles. Paddles made from graphic or composite materials will last the average recreational player about two to three years.
Question 4: Why are pickleball paddles Square?
Answer: Its aerodynamic shape cuts through the air more quickly at the net. There are no corners at the top of the paddle, the paddle can be rotated more quickly. In addition to the rounded shape, the center of the sweet spot is a bit bigger because of its shape.